Systemic inequalities in indoor air pollution exposure in London, UK

Lauren Ferguson, Jonathon Taylor, Ke Zhou, Clive Shrubsole, Phil Symonds, Mike Davies, Sani Dimitroulopoulou

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleScientificpeer-review

37 Citations (Scopus)
5 Downloads (Pure)


Deprived communities in many cities are exposed to higher levels of outdoor air pollution, and there is increasing evidence of similar disparities for indoor air pollution exposure. There is a need to understand the drivers for this exposure disparity in order to develop effective interventions aimed at improving population health and reducing health inequities. With a focus on London, UK, this paper assembles evidence to examine why indoor exposure to PM2.5, NOx and CO may disproportionately impact low-income groups. In particular, five factors are explored, namely: housing location and ambient outdoor levels of pollution; housing characteristics, including ventilation properties and internal sources of pollution; occupant behaviours; time spent indoors; and underlying health
conditions. Evidence is drawn from various sources, including building physics models, modelled outdoor air pollution levels, time–activity surveys, housing stock surveys, geographical data, and peer-reviewed research. A systems framework is then proposed to integrate these factors, highlighting how exposure to high levels of indoor air pollution in low-income homes is in large part due to factors beyond the control of occupants, and is therefore an area of systemic inequality.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)425–448
Number of pages24
JournalBuildings and Cities
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 7 May 2021
Publication typeA1 Journal article-refereed

Publication forum classification

  • Publication forum level 1


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